Random Act of Kindness – Foodie Style

 

ARC in Austin Texas, Robert, Sunny, Hank and Leslie

A couple of weeks ago, Tiffany sent me a blog of a girl named Robyn who celebrated her birthday by producing a random act of kindness for each year of life she was granted.

Each of our birthdays have already passed this year. But, we promised each other that we would embark on this journey next year. What is a better way to celebrate than to give people a random gift?

A few years back, singer-songwriter Denison Witmer gave away 30 songs for his 30th birthday. And for years I have been wanting to do this but I just get distracted.

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History has shown that no matter the culture, we celebrate with food. It happens in the Torah and the Bible and I am no stranger to this ancient concept. I am always pushing to celebrate by cooking a unique meal, going out to a nice restaurant or even trying a new happy hour.

It reminds me of my dear friend Brandon Jordan. He and I worked together at Macaroni Grill in Grapevine, Texas, when I was in college. Brandon had this great phrase for any and every occasion.

“We should celebrate the day!”

No matter what happened, good or bad, Brandon was up for celebrating with a drink. He would celebrate the fact that the day was over. He would celebrate the fact that he made great money that evening.

Over the past few weeks, I thought, I should do things for others more often. My life is more inwardly focused than I like to admit and I want others to celebrate life!

With that idea in mind, Tiffany and I began the long drive from Austin to El Paso. We sang songs and wrote children’s poems to pass the time.

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So much a little cup can do!

At a stop in Sonora, Texas, I asked Tiffany if she wanted a cup of coffee and before she could answer, a random lady at the coffee station said, “I would love a cup.”

I poured myself a cup and then raced to the register. I told the cashier that I wanted to pay for 3 cups of coffee and told the the cashier what the random lady was wearing.

Tiffany and I quickly got back into the car and were filled with joy. As strange as it may sound, I had all the better parts of anxiety as if I had committed a crime. But instead we had paid for a cup of coffee and, hopefully, brought a delightful surprise to a stranger.

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For weeks, we had been talking about how we wanted to see “The Muppets” movie as a family. We made our game plan and I offered to get popcorn for the family. As I stood in line, I heard a brother and sister behind me discussing their options. They quickly made a selection and continued to talk about their day.

When I got to the counter I placed the order for my family.

“I would also like a No. 2 for the people behind me.”

The cashier asked, “What would they like to drink?” I quickly told him that I was unsure and he could ask them. I paid for the items and walked away. As Tiffany and I were pouring far too much butter on our popcorn, the cashier hunted us down.

“They said they aren’t with you,” he muttered.

“I know. It’s OK. I wanted to pay for it.” I said as he stared at me in disbelief.

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I have been leading a bible study with the Austin Stone Community Church for some time. And the weather in Austin has been warmer than normal prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. However, this week, the nightly lows have been below 40 degrees. This has been hard on the homeless community. My good friend Leslie mentioned that selected gloves and beanies were $1 this week at Target, where she works. After a chain of emails, the group had modified plans to pass out hot chocolate, bananas, granola bars, little debbie snacks and crunch bars along with beanies and gloves.

Upon arriving we learned that the ARC holds around 200 people and had already been filled to capacity, leaving nearly 40 people outside. Our group focused our efforts on the individuals left outside. A few people got to call their families. Others shared their fruit and snacks.

I was blown away at how much joy is shared in a bottle of water, hot chocolate and an earnest conversation.

Here we were celebrating the day with complete strangers and I didn’t want to be anywhere else in that moment!

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I am not mentioning any of this to get a pat on the back. But I simply wanted to call others in the spooning community to action. Let’s put a smile on other people’s faces.

Let’s truly help make this world a better place 1 spooner at a time!